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TOP tier recommendations
United States: Industry focus > Environment: transactional and regulatory
United States: Litigation > Trade secrets
United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > Private equity buyouts
United States: Finance > Capital markets: debt offerings
United States: Finance > Capital markets: equity offerings
United States: Finance > Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
United States: Finance > Financial services: litigation
United States: Finance > Structured finance
United States: Intellectual property > Patent licensing and transactional
United States: Intellectual property > Patent litigation: International Trade Commission
United States: Intellectual property > Trademarks: litigation
United States: Litigation > Product liability and mass tort defense: aerospace/aviation
United States: Litigation > Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco)
United States: Litigation > Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices
United States: Litigation > Securities: shareholder litigation
United States: Litigation > Supreme Court and appellate
United States: Litigation > White-collar criminal defense
United States: Media, technology and telecoms > Technology: outsourcing
United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+)
United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate
United States: Finance
Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘terrific’ debt finance group is extremely popular with clients, and very well respected in the wider legal market, especially for advising private equity sponsors on related financings. According to one client, Chicago-based practice head Linda Myers is ‘by far the best debt lawyer I have worked with’, with a level of practicality that ‘allows her to check her ego at the door and not feel she has to win every point to prove herself’. The team is ‘an outstanding partner in the debt arena’, which provides an ‘exceptional level of service’. Clients also single out the ‘outstanding’ Maureen Sweeney in Chicago, and the ‘fantastic’ Jason Kanner in New York, who ‘consistently provides value’ and ‘has a good sense of market terms for debt deals’. In San Francisco, Francesco Penati is ‘terrific’ and ‘combines legal knowledge with business savvy so can be effective with negotiations’, and Christopher Kirkham is ‘excellent at what he does and resolves any issues that invariably arise’. 2012 was a busy year for the practice, and advising Kerzner International Holdings on its $4bn restructuring was a significant highlight. The firm also represented Vista Equity Partners on its $1.7bn financing for its $2bn acquisition of Misys. On the corporate side, the firm advised Bristol-Myers Squibb on the $1.5bn financing used for its $7bn takeover of Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Another corporate highlight was advising WideOpenWest on the $3.14bn refinancing and subsequent acquisition financing of its take private of Knology.
Within Capital markets: debt offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘excellent team’ has a superb reputation for its advice to issuers in both the investment-grade and high-yield debt markets. The firm is highly regarded for the strength of its private equity practice, and it acts for several private equity firms. Clients praise the team for its ‘crucial guidance based on strong industry knowledge’, ‘rapid responses’ and ‘to-the-point answers’. New York-based Joshua Korff has ‘invaluable legal knowledge and business sense’. Key mandates included Chicago-based Dennis Myers advising new client Bristol-Myers Squibb on three notes offerings of $750m, $750m and $500m, and Korff advising Zurich-headquartered ABB as issuer in three notes offerings of $500m, $1.25m and $750m. Also in New York, Christian Nagler acted for Wyndham Worldwide Corporation in three notes offerings totaling $950m, and represented Molson Coors Brewing Company in three senior notes offerings totaling $1.9bn. A Chicago team including Keith Crow and Robert Hayward also acted for Kellogg regarding offerings of $350m senior notes, $400m senior notes, $700m senior notes, and $500m senior notes. James Rowe represented the Packaging Corporation of America in its $400m 3.9% senior notes offering due 2022, and Hayward advised Whirlpool Corporation on the issuance of $300m 4.7% senior notes due 2022.
Within Capital markets: equity offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘gets its work done in an orderly and efficient manner and its bills are more reasonable than competitors’. The respected team, which handles all manner of issuer-side equity transactions and a growing amount of underwriter work, is ‘excellent in all regards and highly recommended for equity work’. The department recently represented Burger King and its controlling stockholder, 3G Capital Partners, in a business combination with Justice Holdings, a London Stock Exchange-listed public investment vehicle; the transaction resulted in a partial sale of Burger King, with $1.44bn to the Justice shareholders and a New York Stock Exchange listing of the fast food giant. The transaction was led by Joshua Korff in New York, who is praised as ‘deeply knowledgeable and very client friendly’. Eva Davis in Los Angeles recently assisted Westport Innovations, a global supplier of proprietary solutions that allow engines to operate on clean-burning fuels, in its $272.6m secondary offering of common stock. Gerald Nowak and Dennis Myers in Chicago are also recommended, as are Christian Nagler and Brian Raftery, ‘who provides clear, informed and practical advice and responds promptly to all inquiries’, in New York.
Within Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘extremely smart’ and ‘very responsive’ team provides ‘excellent legal and commercial advice’ to high-yield debt issuers. The firm continues to draw on the strength of its private equity practice to assist clients in the capital markets, and it provides ‘one of the best blends of legal advice and practical solutions available’. New York-based Christian Nagler represented Charter Communications in a $1.25bn offering of 5.25% senior notes due 2022, a $750m offering of 6.625% notes due 2022 and a $750m offering of 7.375% senior notes due 2020. Offering ‘practical and concise advice’, Joshua Korff acted for Community Health Systems in three high-yield debt offerings totaling $3.8bn in 2012, and advised Gold Gate Capital Software on two high-yield notes offerings of $1.015bn and $250m. Korff also represented a private equity consortium led by Apax Partners in a $1.75bn offering of 10.5% second-lien secured notes due 2018 and a $750m offering of 12.5% senior notes due 2019 to finance the leveraged buyout of Kinetic Concepts Inc. (KCI). A team in Chicago led by James Rowe and Jon Ballis advised Clear Channel Communications on a private offering of $2.725bn 6.5% series A and series B senior notes due 2022, a private offering of $2bn 9% priority guarantee notes due 2019, and a private offering of $2.2bn 7.625% series A and series B senior subordinated notes due 2020. Also from Chicago, Gerald Nowak counts NRG Energy as a client, and Dennis Myers acted for Audatex North America (a company of Solera Holdings) in its $400m offering of 6.75% senior notes due 2018. Clients value the ‘impressive depth of the team’, and New York-based Michael Kim is recommended.
Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
The consensus is that Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘is the one of, if not the, best restructuring firm in town,’ and attracts praise for having ‘the deepest bench and the most experience’. The firm retains its strong foothold at the top of the market and is considered a ‘debtor-side powerhouse’, with one source saying: ‘of the firms that do debtor work, I prefer it because it focuses on how to get things done with the least amount of fuss and drama.’ The team is among the largest in the US, fielding nearly 40 partners as part of a 100-lawyer strong department; its historical preeminence combines with its strong national capability to ensure that it regularly takes the lead role in headline restructurings. Lawyers are ‘indefatigable and deliver impeccable advice around the clock’. Richard Cieri stands out as ‘among the best there is’ due to his ‘great judgment, experience and solutions-oriented approach’. James Sprayregen is ‘smart, responsive and practical’. Paul Basta is a ‘restructuring specialist through and through’, and Edward Sassower is a ‘true business-savvy deal lawyer who knows when to fight and when to negotiate’. In 2012, the firm advised supermarket chain The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) in its Chapter 11 cases including successfully guiding it through a contested plan confirmation process. In a high-profile financial services matter, the firm won an instruction from Ally in the prearranged bankruptcy cases for its wholly-owned mortgage subsidiary, Residential Capital (ResCap), which filed for bankruptcy with over $4bn in debt-related liabilities and potentially up to $4bn in litigation liabilities. Other headline matters included advising Barneys New York in its out-of-court restructuring, and representing Corus Bankshares in its complex restructuring.
Within Financial services: litigation, tier 4
A recognized litigation powerhouse, Kirkland & Ellis LLP derives a significant amount of mandates from the financial services industry. Active out of its East and West Coast offices as well as its Chicago headquarters, the team provides a ‘professional, timely and empathetic’ service to clients, and while it may lack any standout marquee individuals, it is praised for the ‘consistently high-quality’ level of service across the board. Robert Kopecky is representing Ally Financial as one of the defendants in a high-profile action brought by the conservator of Freddie Mac alleging that they lied about the quality of the $200bn of MBS sold to the government-sponsored mortgage company. Bankruptcy-related mandates continue to account for a significant proportion of the group’s workload, and as well as successfully securing summary judgment for Greenwich Capital Financial Products in a $100m dispute with the bankruptcy trustee of American Business Financial Services, the team also continues to handle work for clients in Madoff-related disputes including for Herald Fund in $600m clawback claims brought by Irving Picard. Recognized for its ‘trial-ready approach’, the firm recently prevailed in a high-profile Supreme Court case for Morgan Stanley and other underwriters; in the process successfully wiping away decades of lower court jurisprudence regarding the two-year period for filing insider-trading suits concerning short-swing trading activity. Washington DC-based Christopher Landau argued the case for all the underwriters before the Supreme Court and is a key member of a team that also includes the ‘experienced, practical and sharp’ Alexander Pilmer, and Emily Nicklin, who has earned an excellent reputation for representing accountancy firms. The arrival of the ‘very experienced’ white-collar and SEC enforcement lawyer Neil Eggleston from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, enhances the firm’s ability to handle standalone regulatory enforcement matters, as well as those running in conjunction with private litigation.
Within Structured finance , tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP, ‘while pricey, is well worth it - the advice we receive is practical and timely - the team we deal with is excellent and it pulls in others if needed’. The 25-strong practice group regularly tops the league table for advising in asset-backed security issues by both volume and value, and is particularly strong in the automobile sector. Kenneth Morrison, who contributes widely to ABS policy reform, leads the firm’s global asset finance and securitization practice from the Chicago office, which also houses Jeffrey O’Connor, who is ‘super smart, but with the ability to explain very complex things so that everyone can understand them’, and James Antonopoulos ‘responsive and helpful, he knows our business and recognizes issues quickly’. In recent assignments, Morrison was lead partner in counseling RBS Securities and Barclays Capital in offerings of term securities backed by dealer floorplan receivables originated by Ford Motor Credit to a value of $4.3bn, and in New York Janette McMahan recently led the work for Ally Bank and Ally Financial to structure an auto receivables grantor trust to the value of $1.2bn, and advised in further transactions with a value of $8.9bn. Long term clients include Navistar Financial and World Omni Financial.
United States: Industry focus
Within Energy: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Known for its role in top national litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘has done some wonderful work’ in the energy sector. Public law expert Mark Filip and the ‘remarkable’ Rick Godfrey are ‘among the cream of the crop’ and particularly recommended for their advocacy and investigative skills, with Godfrey also praised for his ability to explain and simplify complex issues. Both lawyers are leading the representation of major client BP in the final stages of litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Godfrey is coordinating a team of lawyers from the firm and elsewhere in negotiating two separate class settlements on behalf of the company, while Filip is leading work connected to government investigations into the incident. The firm is highly experienced in handling high stakes health and safety and environmental disputes on behalf of major energy players. Godfrey, Andrew Bloomer and Catherine Fitzpatrick are acting for BP in a $423m class action brought by the City of Neodesha and other property owners for damage caused by contamination from a refinery accident 34 years ago. As the initial incident occurred outside the limitation period, the case’s merits center on whether damage was caused by BP’s later cleanup process. The matter is currently being reviewed on a point of law. Godfrey, Mark Lillie and Andrew Kassof are defending Spanish and Argentine oil and gas firms Repsol and YPF in litigation brought by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for alleged pollution of the Passaic River. The firm also defended ConocoPhillips against claims by more than 120 parties, claiming exposure to toxic substances while working for the company in Norway. David Zott, Andrew Bloomer, Matthew Regan, Andrew Langan and Andrew Kassof are recommended.
Within Environment: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s environmental litigation department demonstrates ‘significant experience and understanding’, and its ‘EPA practice is unparalleled’. The firm is often used by clients for ‘the most challenging and highest value work’, as evidenced by its continued representation of BP in the multitude of litigation cases arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. In 2012, the firm helped to settle the federal government’s criminal investigation against BP, and continues to assist in other matters, including defending the company against a lawsuit alleging water contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE. It also acted for the Chamber of Commerce in three related challenges to the EPA’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) rulemakings. These were the Endangerment Rule, which found that GHGs were endangering public health, and so trigger a mandatory duty to issue regulations; the Triggering Rule, which specified that the EPA’s regulation emissions from new vehicles also requires regulating from stationary sources; and the Tailoring Rule, which attempts to limit stationary source regulation with appeal to the Clean Air Act (CAA). The practice attracted Kolmar Americas and Sunoco as new clients in 2012, and continues to act for companies such as ConocoPhilips, Dow Chemical Company, and ExxonMobil. The firm-wide litigation practice includes no fewer than 490 commercial litigators, of which 24 have experience in environmental litigation matters. In particular, Granta Nakayama is ‘easy to work with, smart and practical’.
Within Environment: transactional and regulatory, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has ‘good knowledge of environmental laws and regulations’. The practice, while stronger on the transactional side, is valued by clients as being ‘very efficient’, providing ‘excellent judgement’ and ‘aligned with practical business interests’. Its capabilities lie primarily in advising clients on the environmental aspects of large corporate and real estate transactions, representing buyers, sellers and financial institutions. Its 280 private equity clients continued to provide a strong source of work during the course of the year. It advised Bain Capital on the environmental due diligence aspects of two acquisitions with a combined value of over $1bn, and acted for Carlyle in its acquisition of WorldStrides from Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC. Corporate transactions included assisting Bristol-Myers Squibb with its $7bn acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals. In regulatory work, the firm is lead environmental counsel for Berry Plastics (a major packaging company), handling compliance, site remediation and enforcement-related matters. The experienced and knowledgeable Walter Lohmann heads the transactional practice. Brian Land in Washington DC is ‘very easy to work with’ and ‘very practical’.
United States: Intellectual property
Within Copyright, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Under the leadership of its best known figure, Dale Cendali, Kirkland & Ellis LLP remains noted for expertise on high-profile copyright litigation matters spanning a diverse range of sectors, such as technology, financial services and entertainment. The New York-based team has been acting for the producer behind Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark in an ongoing copyright infringement and royalties dispute brought by the show’s former director. Cendali and Claudia Ray led on the successful defence in Alexander v Murdoch, with a Second Circuit appeal affirming a district court dismissal of a claim brought by an individual alleging that TV series Modern Family infringes the copyright in his proposed script. Another success was obtaining a district court ruling in favor of Tetris Holdings, which found that start-up company Xio Interactive did infringe the copyrighted expression of its client’s game through releasing a knock-off version for the iPhone. The lawyers are also acting for credit rating agency A M Best Company as plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit against competitor SNL Financial, which claims that information on its website is copying the client’s insurance company ratings and press releases.
Within Patent licensing and transactional, tier 4
Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides licensing and transactional expertise on a range of disciplines including biomedical engineering, materials science and computer science. The group undertakes the full spread of work including strategic cross-licenses, the settlement of litigation and corporate support work such as IP due diligence. The team recently assisted a major chemical company in an outbound patent and know-how license and technical services agreement with an Indian manufacturer. It also acted for Leighton Technologies in the successful licensing of its patent portfolio. Whilst splitting his time between patent licensing and litigation relating to technology transfer, Russell Levine continues to be a key player within the team. He is based across three offices - Chicago, Washington DC and New York. Other standout attorneys include Matt Lovell and Neil Hirshman.
Within Patent litigation: full coverage, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Fish & Richardson P.C. handles a high volume of district court patent cases and is highly regarded for its strong trial experience. It returned to acting for the defendant in the precedent-setting Prometheus v Mayo, with the Supreme Court recently ruling that the patent held by the plaintiff to be invalid because it covers a law of nature and not an innovative new process. Life sciences litigation practice head Jonathan Singer and experienced appellate lawyer John Dragseth led on the case. On the technology side, the firm obtained a win for defendant Adobe Systems against a patent infringement case brought by Tarkus Imaging in a Delaware district court hearing. The practice successfully acted for the defendant in Eolas Technologies v Adobe Systems at an Eastern District of Texas trial. It was also co-counsel to numerous defendants in CEATS v Continental Airlines, achieving a ruling of invalidation for patent claims regarding a method to reserve specific seats at events. Key attorneys are trial and appellate lawyer David Healey, Frank Scherkenbach, who focuses on high-technology cases and Dallas office trial practice head Thomas Melsheimer.Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team is ‘highly knowledgeable and provides sophisticated advice’. Despite some high-profile team losses in recent years, it continues to achieve high-value wins for major clients.Steven Cherny continued a successful representation of CR Bard, with a Federal Circuit appeal affirming a district court verdict that the client’s patent was infringed and upholding a $800m-plus damages and royalties award. Gregg LoCascio obtained a $105.9m award for a subsidiary company of Schlumberger as plaintiff in a trial against Ion, concerning patents for oil exploration equipment. He also successfully defended Siemens at a Supreme Court appeal brought by Saint-Gobain, with a previous federal appeal ruling upheld and a damages award increased in favor of the client. Gregory Arovas (‘thoughtful and aggressive; thorough knowledge of the law and how it relates to business’) led for Apple in a patent ownership claim dispute against Kodak. Luke Dauchot (‘strong trial lawyer and a good team leader’), of counsel Mark Pals, who leads the pharma and biotech patent litigation group, William Streff, who is experienced in advising Japanese clients, and the up-and-coming Adam Alper are all recommended. High-profile trial lawyer Leora Ben-Ami brought a team over to the New York office from Kaye Scholer LLP. She acts for life sciences clients such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Genentech.
Within Patent litigation: International Trade Commission, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides ‘first-class service at all levels on high-stakes patent litigation matters’. Recent highlights include prevailing for Cisco as respondent to investigations filed by MOSAID and ChriMar, with both opposing parties withdrawing complaints, with IBM, Samsung and Seiko Epson among other key clients. In New York, Gregory Arovas and Todd Friedman are both ‘excellent strategists, responsive, organized and effective oral advocates’. They, along with Steven Cherny and Washington DC-based Edward Donovan, form a team with deep trial experience that has represented hi-tech companies in numerous matters before the ITC.
Within Trademarks: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘excellent’ trademark litigation practice is led by Dale Cendali, who is ‘smart, pragmatic, appreciates the importance of taking the time to understand the facts and will collaborate’. Other key litigators include Claudia Ray, Jeanne Heffernan and Johanna Schmitt in New York and Los Angeles-based Diana Torres. Ongoing cases include defending Apple against a trademark infringement claim brought by a New York-based publisher over use of the term iBooks, and representing Textron in a dispute against Electronic Arts (EA) regarding its use of the client’s Bell helicopters in the Battlefield 3 video games.
United States: Investment fund formation and management
Within Alternative/hedge funds, tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s fund formation practice is best known for its market-leading private equity capability, although its broader scope also covers hedge fund matters for a combination of asset managers and institutional investors. Ten attorneys focus on hedge fund matters covering formation and management, transactions, and regulatory matters for clients including Macquarie Capital, Ridgepoint Asset Management and RBC Global Asset Management. It is this broad ability to provide a full service across the spectrum of fund formation matters that clients value greatly, in addition to its global platform. Highlights included representing Neuberger Berman in the formation of several hedge funds, including several single-investor vehicles tailored to Japanese institutional investors; and representing General Motors Investment Management Company in over $200m of investments. It also represents the client’s Absolute Return Strategies Fund, one of the largest registered hedge fund of funds, on its various regulatory requirements. The ‘exceedingly knowledgeable and nimble’ Scott Moehrke and Nabil Sabki are the key figures. (Since publication, Nabil Sabki has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.)
Within Private equity funds, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
‘One of the top US firms for private equity matters’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s investment management practice combines ‘best-in-class counsel throughout the transaction with a willingness to do whatever it takes to get an assignment completed’. Its ‘precise legal advice and attention to detail, coupled with a strong commercial sense and understanding of business/non-legal imperatives’ marks it out as a go-to firm in the private equity space. It acted for more than 193 GP sponsor clients throughout 2012 with total targeted commitments amounting to $165.1bn, which makes the practice responsible for 25% of the aggregate publicly reported private equity fund commitments raised in 2011. Its US team is spread across its six offices (with strong concentrations in New York and Chicago), and benefits from a global network of over 75 lawyers to cater to a client base of international sponsors such as Macquarie Capital Funds and Brookfield Asset Management. In 2012, it represented Bank of America in the sale of its Asian private equity investment portfolio to a consortium of four private equity firms, and represented Willis Stein in the restructuring and recapitalization of Willis Stein Fund III. In a reflection of the increasing commingling of alternative and private equity strategies, the practice represented Golden Gate Capital Opportunity Fund on the formation of a flagship fund with both private equity and hedge fund characteristics. Other highlights included representing Summit Partners in the formation of its $2.7bn growth equity fund, and representing Thoma Bravo in its $1.2bn buyout fund. It has also been growing its LP-side representations for clients such as General Motors Investment Management Corporation. Chicago-based Bruce Ettelson leads the practice and is ‘one of the finest lawyers in the market, with deep subject matter expertise, excellent legal and business acumen, and a highly ethical approach’. Real estate private equity specialist Kelly Ryan ‘is always able to come up with creative solutions to any problems that a fund faces’, and Chris Kallos is ‘exceptional on the fund formation side’. In New York, John O’Neil comes highly recommended, as does the ‘super-bright and thoughtful’ Andrew Wright. The highly intelligent Michael Belsley is ‘highly resourceful and puts clients first’, and Margaret Gibson is singled out for her ‘combination of tenacity and ability to put clients at ease’.
United States: Labor and employment
Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
At Kirkland & Ellis LLP, ‘service levels are top notch’. In addition to its private equity and public company practices, the EBEC group is experienced in acting before the PBGC and has a growing reputation for its work advising clients on employee benefit plan issues surrounding reorganization, liquidation, debtor-in-possession financing and the purchase or sale of assets of entities in restructuring. The firm is experienced in advising Chapter 11 debtors, and assists clients with the negotiation and settlement of restructuring claims filed by the IRS, retirees, unions and union pension funds. Clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, NRG Energy and Burger King. ‘All members of the team are strong. If someone happens to leave the account, the next person assigned is able to step right in without disruption’. Vicki Hood is ‘extremely responsive and knowledgeable’ and leads the employee benefits group. Scott Price chairs the executive compensation practice. Howard Klein is also recommended. Dominic DeMatties left the firm to join the US Department of the Treasury.
United States: Litigation
Within Leading trial lawyers, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
William Pratt, Kirkland & Ellis LLP: William Pratt is known for his ‘great courtroom presence’. In one highlight, Pratt is representing Cigna Corporation in Franco et al v Connecticut General Life Insurance Co et al, a putative class action brought by employees alleging that the client’s reimbursements policies were improper; in this instance Pratt - who is also ‘ten out of ten’; ‘phenomenal’ - succeeded in having most of the claims thrown out for lack of standing.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: aerospace/aviation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides an ‘excellent service’ in product liability litigation and is noted for its ‘very good team of fast learners’. In particular, the group is regularly instructed to take over cases at appellate level due to its reputation for ‘infallible’ written work and legal analysis of complex legal issues. It continues to benefit from a fruitful relationship with Boeing, which it advised in litigation arising from the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 in The Netherlands. The same client instructed the team to defend it in a lawsuit stemming from the crash of Dana Airlines Flight 992 in Nigeria. Other clients include Delta Air Lines, EVA Airways and Honeywell International. Equally strong for defense representation in commercial and products litigation, the practice is commended for ‘valuing the opinions of clients’ lead insurers’ before making key decisions. Washington DC-based Matthew Papez is ‘unique in his acceptance of challenges’ and has remarkable ‘legal talent, personality and determination’. In the same office, Craig Primis shows ‘clarity of legal thought’ and ‘strategic acumen’. Members of this ‘diligent’, ‘responsive’ group demonstrate a ‘high degree of knowledge’ about aviation products liability and impart ‘well thought-out solutions’.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
‘Wonderful product liability firm’ Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘a national player’ with broad coverage across the spectrum of product defense work. Washington DC-based Eugene Assaf and Craig Primis continue to defend Honeywell International in a case brought by the Department of Justice before the US District Court for the District of Columbia, concerning allegedly defective body armor. In Chicago, practice head Andrew McGaan leads advice to longstanding client RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, which the team recently represented in multi-state arbitration regarding adjustments to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. In Chicago, Terrence Dee and Michael Slade won summary judgment for Motorola in a long-running case in Washington DC Superior Court concerning potential health risks of cellphones. Michael Jones and Jennifer Levy are also recommended.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
With teams in its Chicago, New York and Washington DC offices, Kirkland & Ellis LLP continued to expand its pharmaceuticals and medical devices practice, winning new instructions from clients including Baxter Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals. The firm has a ‘strong bench’ of attorneys and clients are ‘exceptionally pleased’ with advice provided. Highly regarded trial lawyer Michael Foradas represented Abbott Laboratories as nationwide counsel in litigation concerning its arthritis and Crohn’s disease treatment, Humira. Leslie Smith produces ‘outstanding work’ and ‘manages her team well’. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz acted for Baxter Healthcare in a large number of lawsuits arising from an outbreak of hepatitis in Las Vegas in 2008, allegedly as a result of using propofol anesthetic products. The team also saw an uptick in government investigations stemming from misbranding and promotions of off-label uses.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP acts for some of the world’s largest chemicals and materials companies, often serving as lead counsel in major class actions, multi-district litigation, and investigations into product recalls or defects. This ‘highly responsive’ team has a longstanding relationship with BP America, which Richard Godfrey is representing in litigation and government investigations arising from the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Well regarded for its ‘very high quality service’ and ability to ‘handle the most complex matters’, the firm shows an ‘almost military ability’ to deploy resources on a large scale. Kevin Van Wart acted for E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Company in thousands of personal injury claims, following alleged exposure to radiation. In New York, Lee Ann Stevenson is lead liaison counsel for Verizon New York regarding claims brought by workers involved in the reparation and cleaning of Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Matthew Regan, Hariklia Karis, Andrew Langan and Wendy Bloom are also recommended.
Within Securities: shareholder litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP achieved a significant victory for the financial sector when Christopher Landau from the Washington DC office appeared before the Supreme Court in Credit Suisse v Simmonds on behalf of client Morgan Stanley and obtained a decision that confirmed the statutory two-year time limit for filing actions under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The securities litigation group is some 50 partners strong, located one third in New York, and the remainder nationwide. Clients comment on ‘very good lawyers, and pleasant people to work with’, and ‘we’re always impressed by the industry knowledge, we get practical advice not maybes’. In New York, Andrew Clubok, ‘an excellent strategist, organized and effective’, is leading the team representing Facebook in over three dozen putative class action lawsuits and related shareholder derivative claims relating to Facebook’s IPO. In the same office Peter Doyle is an expert litigator and arbitrator, and Yosef Riemer is also an excellent trial and appellate advocate.
Within Supreme Court and appellate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
At Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Christopher Landau is ‘a very smart and a very capable appellate advocate’. The firm recently won two significant Supreme Court victories. In Credit Suisse Securities v Simmonds, Landau led in briefing and arguing the case on behalf of underwriters which led to a favourable ruling restoring equitable tolling limits. In CompuCredit Corp v Greenwood, Michael McConnell’s argument led to a successful 8-1 verdict in favour of client CompuCredit Holdings Corporation, a ruling which established the enforceability of an important arbitration agreement. The firm is also active nationally in appeals courts. Jay Lefkowitz is noted for his extensive pharmaceuticals practice; a team led by Edwin U also won a notable victory in 2012 for Teva Pharmaceuticals’ Barr Laboratories Unit in a California antitrust class action, a rare reversal of a prior precedent on a constitutional matter.
Within Trade secrets, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s sizeable global network enables it to bring to bear broad trial experience, as well as a track record on high-profile, "bet-the-company" cases. It represents large corporate clients and startups across a range of industry sectors. Joseph Serino, Eric Leon, Mark Rasmussen and Claudia Ray represented TechForward in a claim brought against Best Buy, which involved allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and projections regarding customer behavior relating to the development of a consumer electronics buyback program. A trial jury found in favor of TechForward, holding Best Buy liable for wilful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets. In another highlight, Craig Primis, John O’Quinn and Matthew Papez are defending Boeing against claims of unjust enrichment and conversion of intellectual property brought by former business partner Alabama Aircraft Industries.
Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP wins plaudits for myriad reasons such as its ‘thorough prep work’, ‘great knowledge of the industry’, ‘well thought-out advice’, ‘good temperament with other counsel’ and ‘good advocacy’. It has recently represented Abbott in various investigations concerning the drug Depakote; in 2012 the company pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor violation, and a civil settlement agreement of $1.6bn was reached, while a separate action by the State of Louisiana remains ongoing. Other mandates included Aon, in an investigation by the US and UK governments into alleged illicit compensation, payments, and gifts to foreign officials that violated FCPA and related UK anti-corruption statutes. BP’s highly-publicized Deepwater Horizon case was another coup; the firm has been one of three put together in a "virtual firm" model to defend against the various ongoing governmental investigations. In New York, its stars include Michael Garcia, the ‘excellent’ Andrew Genser, and Henry DePippo, who is ‘particularly terrific and very strategic and practical in his advice’. In Chicago, Mark Filip has a solid reputation, and Neil Eggleston, who came from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, was a notable addition in Washington DC, where Laurence Urgenson is also located.
United States: Media, technology and telecoms
Within Marketing and advertising, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 20-lawyer marketing and promotions team operates out of Chicago, Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles and is part of the firm’s national IP department. Litigators have a significant success rate in prosecuting and defending advertising, marketing and unfair competition claims and, representing clients before the FTC and NAD in complex, challenging cases. Practice head Ross Weisman and David Callahan represent Dyson in a false advertising case against Bissell regarding vacuum cleaner performance. Gregg LoCascio in Washington DC represents Abbott Laboratories and Verizon Communications. Tom Monagan focuses on Lanham Act litigation.
Within Technology: outsourcing, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 50-lawyer practice advises customers and service providers on procurement initiatives, multi-tower and multi-vendor deals, and ITO and BPO. Clients appreciate this broad perspective and the group’s ‘experienced, helpful and responsive’ lawyers. Practice head Gregg Kirchhoefer in Chicago who represents Kellogg and State Farm is singled out for praise. Neil Hirshman completed a project guiding National Grid through seven IT transactions in a multi-tower, multi-vendor transformational outsourcing and advised Xchanging on a seven-year outsourcing arrangement with BAE Systems. Matthew Lovell in Chicago combines intellectual property and technology outsourcing expertise. The firm’s international footprint supports multinational clients including CIGNA, National Grid, Evergreen Pacific and Goldman Sachs.
United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within Antitrust, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
The lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP deliver ‘good response times and excellent knowledge of their client’s business’, and ‘the depth throughout the practice is exceptionally strong’. The firm is ‘one of the top litigation outfits in the country’ and clients describe its expertise in this area as ‘just great’. In 2012, the team represented Bain Capital in a nationwide class action alleging that several private equity firms and investment banks conspired to fix the stock prices of the public companies they acquired in violation of the Sherman Act. On the non-contentious side, ‘it unquestionably has a very sophisticated team supporting a significant transaction load’, and the attorneys provide guidance based on past agency experience. Merger approval highlights included advising Constellation Energy on its agreement to merge with Exelon Corporation, which created one of the country’s largest residential electricity and gas distribution companies; the group also acted for BP on the antitrust aspects of selling its Texas City refinery and certain downstream assets to Marathon Petroleum. Recent personnel changes saw former deputy White House counsel Susan Davies join the firm. David Zott and Daniel Laytin are ‘creative, diligent and experienced trial lawyers’; other noteworthy individuals include James Mutchnik, Timothy Muris and Christine Wilson. The practice is predominantly concentrated in Washington DC and Chicago, but it also has a presence in New York and Los Angeles.
Within M&A: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP recently represented both its corporate and private equity clients in deal-related litigation. Key cases included acting for Apax Partners, in litigation filed in the Superior Court of California, Orange County and Delaware Chancery Court that related to Apax’s 2011 acquisition of Epicor Software Corporation, the plaintiffs alleging that Epicor’s board of directors breached its fiduciary duties in agreeing to be acquired by Apax Partners. The firm advised Bristol-Myers Squibb in connection with multi-jurisdictional shareholder litigation, arising out of its acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals; and won a major victory for Community Health Systems when the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed, with prejudice, a damaging lawsuit that was filed by rival Tenet Healthcare Corporation in a takeover battle. The practice also represented GeoEye, and its board of directors, in a series of pending class actions, in which the plaintiffs challenged the merger between GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, a stock and cash transaction valued at $900m. The team also represented Clearwire Corporation, and nine of its directors, in a series of lawsuits where the plaintiffs allege that Clearwire is worth $30bn, and the merger agreement provides for the minority shareholders’ interest to be purchased at $1.5bn; and advised Duff & Phelps Corporation in connection with two shareholder cases arising from the December 2012 announcement that Duff & Phelps would be acquired by a consortium that includes The Carlyle Group, Stone Point Capital, Pictet & Cie, and Edmond de Rothschild Group. New York-based Yosef Riemer and Matthew Solum are key contacts.
Within M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘expertise in large scale M&A is top-notch’. The practice’s strength lies in its ability to bring together ‘excellent lawyers’ in M&A, private equity, related finance, litigation, IP and restructuring, in both stable and challenging market conditions. Renowned specialists in tax, employee benefits, environmental, corporate governance and competition are also integral to the practice. The group is ‘extraordinary; it is always available with the right resource, has strong knowledge, and is open to discussing metrics, structuring arrangements and the moderation of costs. The pace and sense of team are outstanding’. The practice represented long-time client Constellation Energy Group in its $7.9bn merger with Exelon Corporation, the transaction creating an energy provider with a combined enterprise value of $52bn; and acted for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in a $7bn transaction in which Bristol-Myers will acquire Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases, pursuant to a cash, tender offer and second-step merger, the deal involving a unique transaction structure whereby Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca worked together on the bid and agreed to collaborate, post-closing, on the commercialization and development of Amylin’s suite of drug products. The practice also acted for Solutia, a manufacturer of performance materials and chemicals, in its agreement to be acquired by Eastman Chemical Company for an approximate total transaction value of $4.7bn; and advised NRG Energy in its acquisition of GenOn Energy, which, in a stock-for-stock transaction, will create the largest competitive generator in the US, with a combined enterprise value of $18bn. Mid-market deals included representing GeoEye in its agreement to merge with DigitalGlobe in a stock and cash transaction, valued at $900m. New York-based David Fox and Daniel Wolf are recommended, as is George Stamas in Washington DC. Scott Falk in Chicago is ‘engaged and immediately available, and he can deliver the rest of the firm’s best resources. He is a great thought partner, and very bright and direct about his views, but in a way that invites dialogue’. Chicago-based Roger Rhoten has ‘been outstanding on our transactions. He is very balanced, clear, fast, and on top of the matter’. The New York office welcomed Taurie Zeitzer, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP, and Sarkis Jebejian, who arrived from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
Within Private equity buyouts, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s peerless commitment to the private equity market has ensured its continued success in this sector. Both domestically and globally, it sets a benchmark that few can get close to, particularly as it successfully inhabits the middle market as well as the mega-deal segment. Private equity clients regard the firm as ‘extraordinary’, ‘extremely capable’, and praise it for its ‘excellent judgment’ and ‘broad resources’. Indeed, when it comes to volume of deals, the firm is virtually untouchable, but this should not overshadow its ability on high-value transactions. Led by up-and-coming New York partner Eunu Chun, the firm represented Apax Partners as lead investor in the $1bn acquisition of software company Paradigm. In addition, Chicago partner Matthew Steinmetz headed the team that advised marquee client Bain Capital on its $1.6bn acquisition of Apex Tool group from Danaher Corporation. Madison Dearborn is another of its trophy clients, and it represented the private equity house on the $1.55bn sale of portfolio company Bolthouse Farms to The Campbell Soup Company. The firm has some 540 attorneys within its global corporate practice group, of which approximately 60% are primarily focused on private equity transactions. It has more than 280 private equity clients including Bain Capital, Golden Gate Capital, Madison Dearborn, Oaktree Capital Management and Sun Capital Partners. Leading partners in the department include senior figures Kirk Radke in New York and Chicago’s Douglas Gessner. Other important names are Chicago’s Stephen Ritchie, Sanford Perl, Jon Ballis, Richard Campbell, Walt Holzer, and David Breach and Stephen Oegen in San Francisco. Washington DC-based senior figure George Stamas is regarded by clients as an ‘invaluable counselor’ and a ‘great negotiator’.
United States: Real estate and construction
Within Construction, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP focuses on construction disputes for a diverse client base that includes developers, contractors, engineers, architects and private individuals. The core team of five partners is based in Chicago and is supported by the firm’s globally integrated litigation platform. Its strengths lie in representing clients in complex construction litigation and in providing high-caliber pre-litigation advice. It recently obtained a settlement for SSAB Americas in its case against the City of Chicago in which the steel supplier was alleged to have provided inappropriate steel for the façade structure of terminals 2 and 3 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It is also serving as defense liaison counsel in the mass tort litigation claims brought by workers who performed repair and cleanup work to New York buildings damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is defending Verizon, one of the major building owner defendants, against more than 400 individual complaints.
Within Real estate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is seen to be ‘making a commitment to real estate as a serious, independent practice area’, and is best known for its funds work in this space, taking private equity clients through raising, structuring, capital deployment, recapitalizing and all else in between. The 23-partner team, across Chicago and New York, is ‘very professional and knowledgeable’, and ‘extremely thorough’. 2012 saw the lateral hire of David Fischman from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and the promotion to partner of both Travis Fleming and Christopher Hartmann, and the growth at partner level was reflected in several significant client gains, including Dune Real Estate Partners, KKR, Lubart-Adler, Morgan Stanley Mezzanine Partners, and Paulson & Co. Andrew Small advised KKR on the $196m acquisition of the Yorktown Center mall outside Chicago, and on financing related to the center and a joint venture for the acquisition. The ‘thorough, hardworking and reliable’ Jonathan Schechter acted for Starwood Capital in the formation of a joint venture with a sovereign wealth fund and university endowment to acquire seven shopping malls in the US for $1bn; and led the advice to the same client on its formation of a joint venture with Toll Brothers to develop a hotel and condominium community beside Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York. Rachel Brown and the ‘very talented’ Daniel Perlman represented General Growth Properties in the $1.4bn refinancing of the Ala Moana Center mall in Hawaii.
United States: Tax
Within Domestic tax: Central, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘excellent and experienced’ firm-wide tax practice includes 30 partners in the Chicago office. The team handles tax planning for domestic and foreign M&A, buyouts, fund formations, restructuring, bankruptcy reorganizations, financings, and executive compensation arrangements and controversy matters before the IRS and foreign and state tax authorities. The ‘technically brilliant’ Gregory Gallagher is ‘one of the most capable tax lawyers in the M&A arena’. Other key partners include William Levy, who focuses on all areas of corporate work including finance, real estate transactions and international tax matters; Todd Maynes, who centers his practice on the tax aspects of debt restructuring, bankruptcy and tax litigation; and Jeffrey Sheffield who has considerable experience in tax planning for publicly traded companies and consolidated groups. Work highlights included representing Oklahoma-based Tronox Incorporated in its acquisition of the mineral sands operations of coal and iron ore miner Exxaro Resources. The firm also represented Archstone, a leading national apartment REIT owned by multiple sponsors with more than $10bn in debt, in its restructuring.
Within Domestic tax: East Coast, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘user-friendly’ tax practice is largely driven by its impressive transactional practice. The ‘knowledgeable’ team has broad expertise with a core strength in the private equity sector, and has recently been expanding its public M&A work. The firm recently advised Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, the world’s largest generic drug maker, in its agreement to acquire Cephalon; Steven Clemens was the key partner involved. The team also represented Burger King Worldwide Holdings and its controlling stockholder, 3G Capital Partners, in a business combination with Justice Holdings, a London Stock Exchange-listed public investment vehicle. The firm’s East Coast practice is based in New York and clients recognise the firm’s ability to explain, often complex, structures clearly. Patrick Gallagher is very highly regarded in the market.
Within International tax, tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a substantial tax practice, with the majority of partners focused on both international and domestic tax matters. In Chicago, Gregory Gallagher is ‘one of the most capable tax lawyers’ in M&A matters. Steven Clemens, in New York, is very highly regarded and represented ABB in connection with its agreement to acquire Thomas & Betts. In other work highlights, the firm represented Bain Capital on a number of matters, including on its leveraged buyout of China Fire & Security Group. Jeffrey Sheffield, Donald Rocap and Keith Villmow led the transaction. Other firm clients include Oaktree Capital Management, Strategic Value Partners and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Within Tax controversy, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s tax controversy practice is centered in the Chicago office, with capabilities in Washington DC. The controversy group is closely integrated with the litigation department, representing public, private companies and private equity investors in administrative controversies with the federal and state tax authorities. The firm’s ‘solid and active’ controversy practice has extensive experience in transfer pricing disputes for a number of Fortune 1000 companies in sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, medical products, consumer electronic and insurance. Chicago-based Natalie Keller represented Majestic Star Casino in a case, currently on appeal, in a multimillion-dollar property tax dispute regarding the value of its riverboats casinos.
Further information on Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Kirkland & Ellis LLP in other jurisdictions.
Offices in Shanghai
Offices in Munich
Offices in Hong Kong
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Capital markets (debt) : Capital markets (debt)
- Capital markets (equity) : Capital markets (equity)
- Corporate (including M&A) : Corporate (including M&A)
- Investment funds : Investment funds
- Private equity : Private equity
Offices in London
- Corporate and commercial : Corporate tax
- Corporate and commercial : Financial services
- Corporate and commercial : M&A: premium deals, £250m+
- Corporate and commercial : Private equity: transactions
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: corporate crime
- Dispute resolution : International arbitration
- Finance : Acquisition finance
- Finance : Corporate restructuring and insolvency
- Finance : High yield
- Finance : Investment funds
- Finance : Bank lending (including other sources of financing)
- Finance : Capital markets: debt offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: equity offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
- Finance : Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy)
- Finance : Financial services: litigation
- Finance : Structured finance
- Industry focus : Energy: litigation
- Industry focus : Environment: litigation
- Industry focus : Environment: transactional and regulatory
- Intellectual property : Copyright
- Intellectual property : Patent licensing and transactional
- Intellectual property : Patent litigation: full coverage
- Intellectual property : Patent litigation: International Trade Commission
- Intellectual property : Trademarks: litigation
- Investment fund formation and management : Alternative/hedge funds
- Investment fund formation and management : Private equity funds
- Labor and employment : Employee benefits and executive compensation
- Litigation : Leading trial lawyers
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: aerospace/aviation
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco)
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort
- Litigation : Securities: shareholder litigation
- Litigation : Supreme Court and appellate
- Litigation : Trade secrets
- Litigation : White-collar criminal defense
- Media, technology and telecoms : Marketing and advertising
- Media, technology and telecoms : Technology: outsourcing
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Antitrust
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: litigation
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+)
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Private equity buyouts
- Real estate and construction : Construction
- Real estate and construction : Real estate
- Tax : Domestic tax: Central
- Tax : Domestic tax: East Coast
- Tax : International tax
- Tax : Tax controversy